Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)

Last Updated on November 17, 2020

Topkapi Palace, one of world’s richest museums, can be considered as the best and the most visited sights in Istanbul together with the neighboring Hagia Sophia. Situated on a triangular promontory dominating the Bosphorus and Golden Horn, it is a magnificent oriental palace and one of the world’s greatest architectural works.


Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)

Topkapi Palace Facts

Istanbul’s, as well as the World’s one of most visited sights. So what it stands for?

  • Built between the years of 1460-1478.
  • Once a residence of the Ottoman Sultans.
  • One of world’s richest museums.
  • Houses the finest samples of seal, book binding, jewelry and box craftsmanship as well as inscriptions.
  • Houses the finest collection of Chinese porcelain in the world.
  • Converted to a museum in 1924.

History of Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace was the residence of the Ottoman sultans as well as the administrative and educational center of the Empire. The palace was constructed atop the Byzantine acropolis on Sarayburnu at the tip of the historical peninsula, between the years of 1460-1478 with the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmed, conquest of Istanbul in 1453.

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)

Topkapi Palace continued to be the residence of the Ottoman sultans for about 350 years, until the early 1850s. As the palace has become very inadequate to the needs such as ceremonies and protocol, sultans moved to the Dolmabahce Palace, which is situated in Besiktas, Bosphorus shores.


But despite the move, the many collections such as the royal treasure, the Holy Relics of the Prophet Muhammad and the imperial archives continued to be preserved at the Topkapi Palace. In the year of 1924, as the Republic of Turkey established, Topkapi Palace was converted into a museum with the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

What to See at Topkapi Palace?

Covering an area of about 700,000 m2, the palace is surrounded by the Marmara Sea, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. And on the land, it is surrounded by a 1,400-meters city walls known as the “Royal Walls” and with the Byzantine walls on the side facing the sea.

Topkapi Palace complex has a giant design and consists of three main gates that include the Imperial Gate (Bâb-ı Hümâyûn), the Gate of Salutation (Bâbüsselâm) and the Gate of Felicity (Bâbüssaâde), four courtyards, the Harem, the Royal Gardens (also known as Rose Garden (Gülbahçe) and several other gardens.

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)
The Imperial Gate

What’s inside?

Topkapi Palace houses the finest samples of seal, book binding, jewelry and box craftsmanship as well as inscriptions. The former imperial kitchen houses the finest collection of Chinese porcelain in the world.

The Sultans’ costumes also exhibited there. The Treasury has a breathtaking and excellent collection of jewels such as emeralds, rubies and diamonds adorn turban crests, swords, golden thrones embroidered with seed pearls.

The Baghdad Pavilion, decorated with beautiful blue tiles, houses a sanctuary containing relics of the Prophet Mohammed, as well as exhibitions of paintings and manuscripts.

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)


And than comes the world famous Harem, the private part of the palace where the wives and concubines of the sultans were lived.

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)

Also the famous Hagia Irene Church, now a museum and a center cultural activities and exhibitions, is located at the first court of the palace. Like Harem, you need to buy separate ticket to visit Hagia Irene.

Topkapi Palace Collections

* Arms and Weapons – part of the private collection of Topkapi Palace; the finest samples of craftsmanship and ornamentation of The Ottomans; weaponry owned by Sultan Mehmed II, Bayezid II, Selim the Grim, Suleiman the Magnificent, Selim II, Mehmed II, and Ahmed I and more.

* Chinese and Japanese Porcelains – one of the finest collection of Chinese porcelains in the world, together with Japanese Porcelains are exhibited at the Imperial Kitchens.

* Copper and Goldplate Copper Kitchen Utensils – Copper works are an important part of the kitchenware of the Topkapi Palace; exhibited at the Confectionery House.

* European Porcelains and Glasses – about 5,000 pieces of porcelain ware from various countries in Europe.

* Imperial Treasury – Kasikci (Spoon-maker) Diamond, Topkapi Dagger, Jewelled pendants and plumes, treasury weapons, thrones and gifts for Sultans.

* Istanbul Glassware and Porcelain – about 2,000 pieces of porcelain.

* Pavilion of the Holy Mantle and Holy Relics – holy relics, Holy Mantle of the Prophet Muhammad, the hair from the Prophet Muhammad’s beard, the tray used by Abraham;, the staff of Moses, the sword of David, the robe of Joseph, the swords of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions exhibited at the Privy Room (Has Oda).

* Portraits of Sultans and Paintings – variety of very valuable portraits of 36 different ruling sultans beginning with the foundation of the Ottoman state.

* Silverware – rich collection of about 2,000 works of silverware made up of works from the 16th to the 19th centuries

* Sultan Caftans, Fabrics, Carpets and Sacred Coverings – collection of sultans’ clothing; finest examples of Ottoman textile art.

The Harem

The Harem is a whole different world where the wives and concubines of the sultans were lived. It was the world of love, intrigue and jealousy and has an important value on the administration of the Empire.

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)

The Privy Chamber of Murad III, decorated with blue and red tiles is one of the most beautiful rooms of the Harem that worth a visit and see, as well as the dome with outstanding classical patterns, a built-in marble fountain with three levels, and the best examples of wooden doors. Note that you need to buy separate ticket to visit Harem.

Visiting Topkapi Palace Tips

Visiting Topkapi Palace without buying tickets before and try to buy at the ticket window on location means waiting in the long lines.

You can wait about 2 hours that is crowd dependent to get an entry ticket, so getting there at 09:30 am could mean a 11:30 am entrance.

So, we highly recommend you buy your Topkapi Palace tickets online.

Some insider advice

* Buy your tickets well in advance to avoid the time slots that can tend to sell out even in low season.

* Buying guided tours is recommended because Topkapi Palace has a history coming from 1460s, better to know the each detail and story, and have a detailed look at the story of the museum, and you’ll have a detailed look at the rooms, gardens, galleries, collections and the decoration from the past and today.

* Harem section of Topkapi Palace and Hagia Irene Museum (formely church, inside the 1st courtyard) is visited via separate tickets.

* The palace has four courts, you are free to enter the first court, and there you’ll find a beautiful garden with very old huge trees, the museum souvenir shop and cafe and ticket window. See the Topkapi Palace Plan Map.

* Book your tickets for 09:30 or 15:30, to avoid crowds.

* Plan at least 90 minutes for the visit.

* Plan your day together with Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern as they are within walking distance from Hagia Sophia.

* Keep an eye out for unofficial guides (guides should have official badge on).

* Don’t pay attention, look in the eyes, and talk with beggars, and people coming beside and ask for helping with guidance around or for money.

* Avoid weekends if possible, it can be more crowded with the locals’ visits.

* Try one of the four quality restaurants for lunch situated inside the palace, overlooking the Bosphorus entrance with good views.

* Check the weather forecast and plan your day for the sunniest one if possible.

Visiting Hours & Admissions

Opening Hours

Open every day except Tuesdays 09:00-18:45 (from 01 April to 01 October), 09:00-16:45 (from 01 October to 01 April).

Closed on Tuesdays

Ticket Price

* 100 TL at ticket window on location (except Harem section)

* Guided tour regular price is about €21

* Harem and Halberdiers with Tresses Dormitory ticket is 42 TL

* Hagia Irene Museum (1st courtyard of Topkapi Palace) ticket is 36 TL

Accessibility Information

  • Topkapi Palace Museum is partly wheelchair accessible. However, there is no wheelchair service available on the site. You need to provide your own wheelchair if needed.
  • There are some sections and halls that are not accessible for the disabled visitors to enter and pass with wheelchairs. It is because there are steps, as well as you’ll need to pass over elevated marble slabs. Improvements is not possible to due the sight’s being cultural asset.
  • Wheelchair accessible sections include; Arms and Weapons, Clock Collections, Courtyards, Sultan Caftans, Fabrics, Carpets and Sacred Coverings, Imperial Treasury, Pavilion of the Holy Mantle and Holy Relics, Harem
  • You can find toilet available for disabled use, on the entrance of the 2nd courtyard, on the right.
  • The visiting area is designed to be accessible by wheelchair.
  • Entrance is FREE of charge for disabled visitors, including one companion.

Where to Buy Topkapi Palace Tickets

You can buy them at ticket windows but it will cost you about at least 1 to 2 hours waiting in the line. And this will effect your future sightseeing calendar.

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)
Topkapi Palace main gate crowd in a random day

We recommend you buy your tickets online. This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to get tickets to Topkapi Palace.

We put the links to the official buying channels below. Just pick your date and time and skip the lines.

Topkapi Palace Ticket Options and Prices

There are several options:

  • Buy directly at the ticket window on location.
  • Buy Topkapi Palace only guided tours.
  • Buy Topkapi Palace included combo tickets.
  • Buy one of Topkapi Palace included Istanbul discount passes.

Topkapi Palace is a giant complex and you’ll need about at least 1,5 to 2 hours to have a complete tour.

We recommend you to book the Topkapi Palace tickets for 09:30 and 15:30, as it will be less crowded and you can make the most of the Topkapi Palace even better.

General Admission Tickets

Topkapi Palace entrance fee on your own is 100 TL (about €11,30). This is the ticket window on location option. You need to pay extra 42 TL (about €4,70) for the Harem section.

The general admission tickets will let you enter the museum and explore on your own. You should know that there is very little explanation of the architecture by signs, plates, etc.

If you just want to have quick look inside without need of understand the history behind, and waiting in the queue is not a problem, this is the ticket for you.

The skip the line access tickets with a guide (see below) seems to be about €8,75 expensive.

You should consider on your own would it worth to pay that amount to save yourself from 1 to 2 hours waiting in the line, and have a guide. We guess it would!

Guided Tours

This is the best option we recommend especially for first time visitors. And we always recommend opting for an extended English guided tour offered exclusively by several historian guides of Istanbul.

When you book  you’ll get an email confirmation with meeting details (in front of the Fountain of Sultan Selim III, just by the Imperial Gate of the Topkapi Palace) and there your name being checked from the official guide’s list with your confirmation number.

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)

See below the recommended Topkapi Palace guided tours with fast track entry.

Topkapi Palace and Harem Tour with Historian Guide

This is offered by Istanbul Welcome Card and we highly recommend. You’ll enjoy Topkapi Palace and famous Harem section with one of the few historian guides available in Istanbul, who will tell you about each detail and story about the museum, and you’ll have a detailed look at the rooms, gardens, galleries, collections and the decoration from the past and today that tell the story of Topkapi Palace.

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)Highlights:

  • Skip the ticket lines and save 2 hours
  • Learn 90 minutes from a historian guide
  • Get the real sense of the Topkapi Palace
  • Learn the story about the Harem
  • English speaking guide and entrance fees included

Price: €39

Notice: Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount. Just click the red button below and make sure you see the discounted price on the official page.

Topkapi Palace & Harem Tour with Fast Track Entry & Historian Guide


Topkapi Palace VIP Tickets with Audio App

This is offered by Istanbul Welcome Card and we highly recommend.

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)The ticket includes:

  • Skip the line with an authorized tour guide
  • Entry fees and Topkapi Palace plan
  • 30 min. highlight tour with English speaking guide
  • Topkapi Palace Audio App for IOS and Android in 9 languages: English, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, Chinese
  • Stay inside the Palace as long as you want

Price: €20

Notice: Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount. Just click the red button below and make sure you see the discounted price on the official page.

Topkapi Palace VIP Ticket & Audio App


Combo Tours

This is also a great option we recommend especially for both first time visitors and budget travelers.

Majority of the tourists visit Topkapi Palace on the same day with Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern due to their proximity.

Combo tickets become a good choice if want to get them all with same ticket. You can pick one of the combo tickets.

VIP Combo Ticket for Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern

This is offered by Istanbul Welcome Card and we highly recommend.

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)The ticket includes:

  • Skip the ticket lines with an official tour guide
  • All entrance fees and english speaking tour guide
  • 30 – 45 min. Highlight Tour at each museum by official tour guide
  • Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace Audio App in 9 languages for IOS and Android
    (English, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Chinese, Turkish)

Price: €39

Hagia Sophia Meeting Hours: daily except Tuesdays at 09:30 and 10:30

Topkapi Palace Meeting Hours: daily except Tuesdays at 11:30, 13:30 and 14:30

Basilica Cistern Meeting Hours: daily except Tuesdays at 15:30

Notice: Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount. Just click the red button below and make sure you see the discounted price on the official page.

Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern VIP Combo Ticket


Tourist Passes

Istanbul has two major tourist discount passes. You can read more with our tips and comparisons on our Istanbul Welcome Card and Istanbul Tourist Pass pages.

Topkapi Palace is included at these passes below.


Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)This is a travel discount card that is delivered to your hotel for FREE upon your purchase online, and will be ready to use at your arrival. You can also receive it from its stand in both two Istanbul Airports.

Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe comes with Museum pass with Fast Track Entry to 9 museums & ticket for Bosphorus Cruise, 3 tours with a historian Guide (Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Harem, Basilica Cistern ), Public Transportation, Guide Book and Audio Guides for Istanbul and Free Hotel Delivery.

Buy Your Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe


Istanbul Tourist Pass

Topkapi Palace Museum (Tickets with Guru Advice Guide 2020)This is a digital travel discount pass that is delivered to your phone upon your purchase online, and will be ready to use at your arrival. It includes 35+ attractions and services including skip the line access and guided museum tours, dinner cruise, hop-on & hop-off Bus, airport transfer, and many more.

Buy Your Istanbul Tourist Pass


Alternative Tours & Buying Channels

Here we only suggest the proven ways and top rated ones with travelers’ comments. You can feel free to book one of the below top selling tours.

Free cancellation up to 24 hours before activity starts


How to Get to Topkapi Palace?

Location

Topkapi Palace is situated in the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Fatih district, along the Sultanahmet Sqaure, just very close to the famous Hagia Sophia Museum. See the location map.

Transportation

The most practical way to get to Sultanahmet is via Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line).

  • The closest tram stop is Sultanahmet.
  • Sultanahmet Square and most of the connecting roads are closed for vehicle traffic except tram and tour buses.
  • From Taksim, take the funicular to Kabatas (from taksim Square) or funicular to Karakoy (from Tunel square) and than take the tram.
  • If you stay at the Sultanahmet hotels, than you easily walk to the museum.

Check our Sultanahmet page to see how to get to Sultanahmet in details.

Contact Details

Address: Sultanahmet, Fatih, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 236 90 00
Web: millisaraylar.gov.tr


Please Get Us in the Comments Now

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Topkapi Palace is really large complex. You need half of day for detailed visit. Nevertheless, Haluk tried to make it condensed and he gave us additional 30 minutes. All in all, it was definitely excursion which was worth of time and money!

  2. Nice tour, lasting almost 2 hours. Was great that I didn’t wait in the ticket line. We saw everything in Palace and Harem with very interesting details. Our guide was an historian, very well informed for everything, answering all questions and with a very pleasant personality.

  3. I got enough information about topkapi palace and it was so fun to get trip from istanbul welcome card with mr. Haluk as our guide, he tell us a clear information about the palace

  4. Came to Istanbul last March mainly to see Topkapi treasury. Imagine my disappointment when the treasury was closed ( renovation ). There was no information of this at Topkapi official website. I tried to email website and inform about this, my mail never answered. How can I secure that the treasury is really open when planning my next trip ?

    • Dear Harry, sorry for the trouble you had last year. Well I can say that there is a management change at the Topkapi Palace. It was managed by the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and since 2020 January, managing by the Presidency Directorate of National Palaces. The official website of the Topkapi Palace ( https://topkapisarayi.gov.tr/) is down now. I guess they will shut it down soon.

      I recommend you to wait for some months to see the latest news and details of the Palace from https://muze.gen.tr/muze-detay/topkapi . Or call the new management office on +90 (212) 512 04 80 , or you can secure your visit via travel agent and make sure the treasury is open.

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